ADVERTISEMENT

Flickering trade hopes and tech stock losses hit US indexes

FILE- In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo Joseph Lawler, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 12. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Wednesday 12 September 2018 15.21
NEW YORK (AP) U.S. market indexes are mostly lower in wobbly trading Wednesday as weakness in technology companies cancels out gains in energy stocks and elsewhere in the market.

ADVERTISEMENT

The market staged a brief rally around midday following a report that the U.S. was seeking new trade talks with China.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chipmakers are falling, while Apple is moving lower as it announced updates to iPhones and Apple Watches. Energy companies are rising as U.S. crude oil reaches its highest price since July.

ADVERTISEMENT

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,885 as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 6 points to 25,964. The Nasdaq composite slid 38 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,934 as technology companies declined.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,714.


OIL: Oil prices built on Tuesday's gains, and U.S. crude hit its highest price since mid-July. The Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude stockpiles fell by more than 5 million barrels last week.

ADVERTISEMENT

Benchmark U.S. oil climbed 1.6 percent to $70.37 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 0.9 percent to $79.74 a barrel in London.

ADVERTISEMENT

Energy companies also rose. Chevron climbed 1 percent to $116.20 and Schlumberger rose 1.3 percent to $61.11.

ADVERTISEMENT

FLEETING TRADE HOPES: The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials recently proposed a new round of trade negotiations to give the Chinese government another chance to address U.S. concerns before it imposes bigger tariffs on goods imported from China.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stocks climbed after that report, but they retreated to their earlier levels in less than an hour.


"Every other time this has happened, it wasn't worth the positive market move," said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist for Invesco. "Investors...are a lot more skeptical this time around, having been burned a few times with false optimism about positive trade developments."

ADVERTISEMENT

Many experts feel that China will make substantial concessions to resolve the trade impasse, possibly over the next few months. Hooper disagrees, saying China is preparing for a long dispute by ramping up government spending. She notes that unlike U.S. politicians, Chinese President Xi Jinping doesn't have to worry about facing voters.

ADVERTISEMENT

CHIPPED FINISH: Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney downgraded Micron Technology stock to "Neutral" and said he expects weaker market conditions for several types of computer chips.

ADVERTISEMENT

Micron fell 5 percent to $41.10 while Texas Instruments lost 2 percent to $103.91 and Nvidia slipped 2.4 percent to $266.26.

ADVERTISEMENT

APPLE SPOTLIGHT: Apple unveiled new iPhones with larger screens on Wednesday, and also said new Apple Watches will have larger screens and new health-monitoring features.

ADVERTISEMENT

Apple tends to trade lower on the days it announces new products, and it fell 1.5 percent to $220.54 Wednesday. It's up 30 percent in 2018, however.

ADVERTISEMENT

As the Apple Watch updates were announced, shares of fitness tracker company Fitbit slumped 6.1 percent to $5.58 in heavy trading.

ADVERTISEMENT

ENERGY SURGE: Oil and gasoline prices jumped Tuesday as Hurricane Florence drew nearer to the East Coast and the U.S. government said it's seeing signs that oil shipments from Iran are down. The U.S. is getting ready to put sanctions on Iran's oil industry and has been pressing other countries to reduce their imports as well. That follows the U.S.' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May.

ADVERTISEMENT

Wholesale gasoline prices rose 1 percent to $2.03 a gallon. It jumped almost 3 percent the day before.

ADVERTISEMENT

Heating oil added 0.3 percent to $2.26 a gallon and natural gas remained at $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.

ADVERTISEMENT

FDA WARNING: Cigarette makers jumped after the Food and Drug Administration said it is looking at steps to combat "an epidemic" of e-cigarette use by teenagers, and said companies need to address the problem or risk having their flavored products pulled off the market.

ADVERTISEMENT

Altria Group jumped 6.4 percent to $63.28 and Philip Morris International rose 3.3 percent to $80.


PRICES DOWN: The Labor Department said wholesale prices unexpectedly dipped in August, the first decline in a year and a half. That's a sign inflation pressures could be easing. The agency's producer prices index slipped 0.1 percent in August, although it's up 2.8 percent over the last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

The department said transportation and warehousing service prices fell for the month.


The dollar weakened and interest rates dipped, which put pressure on bank stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.96 percent from 2.98 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

METALS: Gold rose 0.7 percent to $1,210.90 an ounce. Silver added 1 percent to $14.29 an ounce. Copper climbed 2.1 percent to $2.68 a pound.

ADVERTISEMENT

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.22 yen from 111.59 yen. The euro rose to $1.1632 from $1.1586.


OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 gained 0.9 percent while the British FTSE and the DAX in Germany both rose 0.5 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent, and the Kospi in South Korea was almost flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was 0.3 percent lower.

ADVERTISEMENT

____


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT